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More Free Wi-Fi Hotspots Being Installed in Covington

An additional 124 Wi-Fi access points (or, hotspots) are being installed across the city as part of the Covington Connect initiative, announced last summer to better connect local students to the internet, particularly as virtual learning becomes common during the pandemic.

Cincinnati Bell, working with the city, is completing the installation of the hotspots, which create a zone of connectivity of varying size, offering free public access to the streets and houses around it.

Previously completed pieces of the multi-pronged Covington Connect initiative include the distribution of 1,000 free computers and the installation of free Wi-Fi for more than 600 apartments in the City Heights and Latonia Terrace housing complexes.

A major goal of the initiative is to support distance learning for students at Covington’s schools during the pandemic, but officials said the impact of wider access to the internet will be felt across a wide spectrum of societal interaction – from health-care access to employment to housing – for generations to come.

“This has been a fantastic partnership that, quite simply, will strengthen the quality of life of literally thousands of families,” Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said. “Internet access is critical – people go online to access information, shop, pay rent, apply for a job, reserve a library book, attend a training seminar, see a doctor, and perform a myriad other tasks.”

The “hotspots” offering free Cincinnati Bell Wi-Fi are located throughout the city but are concentrated in eight neighborhoods – Eastside, Helentown, Austinburg, Peaselburg, Levassor Park, Lewisburg, Latonia, and West Covington – in order to reach the largest concentration of students.

Wi-Fi connectivity and the strength of the network signal depend upon a number of geographic and construction factors.

See this flier for instructions on how to register and connect to the network. The free registration will require entering an email address and answering a couple of basic demographic questions. 

“Cincinnati Bell is proud to be part of the Covington Connect initiative,” said Tom Simpson, Chief Operating Officer of Cincinnati Bell Inc. “Internet connectivity is mission-critical to access jobs, educational opportunities, and health-care resources. Today’s announcement is another important step toward improving digital equity in Covington.”

The new system is already being used: according to the company, more than 600 people have signed on to Covington Connect 8,000 times in the past 30 days, an average of 13 times each. The average Wi-Fi session was approximately 50 minutes.

Those numbers are expected to grow exponentially with the completed installation of the hotspot devices and publicity.

-Staff report

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